Mental health within construction workers: why is there such a taboo?

Mental health within construction workers: why is there such a taboo?

10 October 2016

According to the HSE, work related stress is defined as ‘the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them in the work place’, and mental health is ‘how we think, feel and behave’. Under certain circumstances, work related stress can turn into common mental health problems (CMHP’s) such as anxiety and depression, when they are left unnoticed or brushed to one side.

Anxiety is an overwhelming feeling of worry and/or panic over something that may or may not happen, when depression is long periods of vast sadness. Both of these can be partially dealt with by the help of a GP or psychiatrist, however if disregarded and ignored, they can worsen immensely putting lives at risk.

            The construction industry is heavily male dominated and statistics show that men are less likely to discuss, or even acknowledge, ill mental health. But why should there be such taboo among men in the construction world? With long and strenuous hours and being highly deadline driven, not to mention the physical exhaustion they may endure, it’s not surprising that their mental wellbeing may suffer, thus triggering anxious and depressive thoughts.

The seriousness of mental health within construction workers not only affects the employee, but the business and the job at hand. If a worker is left experiencing work related stress which then evolves into ill mental health, it can cause them to be less productive and therefore their work not being up to the correct standard. CMHP’s not only affect a person’s mood and psychological wellbeing, but can have negative physical implications. These can be anything from headaches and migraines, sickness, and weight loss/ gain.

Here are some things to look out for in your workers in terms of mental well-being:

  • Changes in normal behaviour such as eating habits, increased smoking.
  • Twitching or nervous behaviour
  • Changes in attendance and punctuality
  • Poor memory
  • Lack of concentration
  • Mood swings
  • Poor performance

Mental health in the workplace is just as important as physical health. They call them the invisible illnesses because you can’t always see or notice them. To assure your workers in construction are well looked after, pay attention to their behaviour to recognise changes. By law, construction workers should have access to changing rooms, frequently cleaned toilets, drinking water and refreshments, and breaks.

PAL Hire specialises in equipment for both the event and construction industry. We hire out fencing, barriers, portable toilets, skips, containers, and generators. For more information, give our expert team a call on 0161 482 6200 today.